Running is scary (but it doesn’t have to be)…
I love the fall. It's the longer nights. I run faster at night. I am more alive at night.
I’ve always been a creature of the night. I watched Psycho 2 when I was barely eight years old. I read Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King when I was ten. I've always gravitated towards the dark side.
All of us have a dark side. Running does too. Running isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
There are anxieties and fears that keep countless from even considering logging a mile. Running can be scary. But, it doesn’t have to be.
Read on for the most common running related anxieties and fears I encounter (and some thoughts about how to conquer them)…
Yes, running is hard. I would never say otherwise. I get it.
It’s not easy. The act generates 3-5 time your body weight in impact force per foostrike. Running demands a lot.
But, there are millions and millions just like you who have done it. There are people who don’t have legs who have done it. There are recovering drug addicts who do it.
I’m not saying it’s easy. But, if you fear that you can’t do it, it’s likely you’re wrong.
I’ve heard some variation of this one from THOUSANDS of runners over the past quarter century. ‘I’m not built for it’. ‘I’ve never been an athlete.’ ‘It’s not my thing.’
To be clear, I’m not trying to force running on anyone. If it’s not your thing, it isn't. Skateboarding isn’t my thing. I wiped out horribly as a kid. I’d likely wipeout on a hoverboard.
But, I think ‘most’ people can do some kind of running (if they want to). You can be a runner and not run a marathon (or an ultramarathon). You’re ‘still’ a runner even if you’re only logging a couple miles twice a week (or less).
I think many run for the hills at the notion of running because they think the barrier to entry is too high. But, we’re all runners at the end of the day. Who hasn’t run to catch a bus?
If you fear identifying as a runner because you feel there’s some hard and fast definition of what a ‘runner’ looks like, let go of it. Even if you’re just sprinting to the bus, you’re still a runner.
The gazelles that notch sub five-minute miles for 26.2 miles are a rare breed. They are a perfect storm of world-class training and often world-class genetics. There’s likely a nice dose of luck in there as well.
Most of us are not so lucky. I likely don’t have the right genetics to perform at an elite level. I weigh a bit more than your ‘average’ gazelle (165 versus about 105-110). I’m not built to be one of the fastest runners on the planet.
But, here’s the thing. Most of us aren’t built to be the best runners on the planet. Such is life. But, don’t abandon all hope!
You can still enjoy running. You can still perform at a high level. You can still do amazing things!
There are so many incredible stories of people who aren’t ‘built’ for it who nevertheless ‘did it’. Oprah ran a marathon. John ‘The Penguin’ Bingham did it.
The reality is we’re ALL built to do it in one, way, shape, or form. You may think I’m full of it (and you may be right). But, just give Bernd Heinrich’s ‘Why We Run’ a read. You might think differently.
Light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles PER SECOND. Usain Bolt can run 100 meters in just over 9.5 seconds. There are a handful of people who can conquer a marathon in just a hair over two hours.
Comparatively speaking, WE’RE ALL SLOW! So what? Why does this matter? Who really gives a shit?
Don’t fear being slow. At the end of the day, we’re all slow. You’re in good company.
People talk ALL THE TIME about how running is a metaphor for life. It’s a cliché. But, it’s TOTALLY TRUE.
There are some things in life that are certain. Death. Taxes. Pain.
As far as I know, no one has found a way to circumnavigate death. Ghosts don’t count because they are simply people who have passed on who are ‘confused’.
We all pay taxes. Well, most of us do.
Life is amazing. It can give you glorious, incredible, ecstatic moments. But, it can also bring you to your knees. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t got hurt in life.
Running can hurt you. It can bring you to your knees. It can also break your heart.
There’s nothing wrong with fearing any of the aforementioned. But, can you live with not knowing all the incredible, amazing things that running can do for you? Are you cool with NOT meeting all the incredible, amazing people who do it?
I didn’t think so.